5 Cheap & Effective Ways To Upgrade Your Beauty Routine

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I’m an admitted practicer of lazy beauty — which is to say, the less time I have to spend on my face, the better. My makeup routine is usually relegated to a few products every morning, and to help myself get away with that, I try to take good care of my skin. It’s harder to make a masterpiece on a shitty canvas, after all. A lot of beauty and skincare hacks aren’t expensive — most, in fact, feel like common sense once you begin them — but marketers hawk expensive treatments and potions at us so frequently, you often think you need more than you really do. There are ways to hack high-end beauty in your own bathroom; even a few little tweaks will make a world of difference.

1. Buy more washcloths.

Washing your face every night is so important to having clear skin, but washing your face with the same wash cloth is a recipe for disaster.The amount of makeup and grime that comes off your face at the end of the day is usually pretty significant, and even though you might rinse and wring out the cloth, it’s bound to retain some of the dirt. Use the same one at night as you did that morning, but swap it out every day. Cut up a really old towel if you don’t want to buy multiple washcloths — even if it’s a little rough and your skin can handle that, it’ll help with exfoliation. (If your gym offers hand towels, I won’t tell if you accidentally put one or two in your bag, but that’s between you and me.)

2. Sign up for a sample service.

Birchbox, Glossybox, Ipsy, and Beauty Army are all great options with varying price ranges and brands. They’ll either send samples (which you can also stock up on and use as travel items if you fly a lot) or full-sized products every month, and while sometimes it’s a bit of a guessing game as to what you want vs. what you need, you’ll often find something in there that you might not have tried otherwise.

3. Similarly, shop the trial-size bins at Sephora.

The Boscia mask medley is my absolute favorite thing in the whole wide world, and I would have never found it if I hadn’t been browsing the shelves that line the Sephora check-out line. The same goes for the Elizabeth + James mini rollerball set and god only knows what other amazing goodies are waiting there. They add up quickly if you’re not careful (they don’t cost nothing, after all) but most often offer multiple colors in the same pack, so you get even more variety for your buck.

4. Think of professional services as a starter-pack.

Sometimes cuticles get really gnarly and you need professional interference. Sometimes your nails chip like crazy and you need a gel to help them on their way. Sometimes your eyebrows got a little wild and you need somebody to tame them back into place. All of these things are fine. It’s better, however, to pay someone who actually knows what they’re doing to do such a good job that you can pick up the reins and maintain their work between appointments. A $6 eyebrow waxing while you’re getting your nails done is cheap, sure, but most of those women aren’t professionally trained in shaping eyebrows, and you can wind up with uneven brows. It’s better to pay a professional to handle it once, and then pluck strays (this will usually last you anywhere from 2 to 3 months). For every pedicure you get, have a night in and give yourself three more.

5. Eat better.

It’s a cop-out, but it’s true. Drink more water. Drink even more water than you think you need. Load up on fruits and vegetables at every meal. Drink a green juice here and there. See if reducing your consumption of dairy, gluten, or sugar affects your skin (gluten doesn’t affect me, but my rosacea almost cleared up completely when I went vegan and therefore cut out dairy. Even swapping almond milk for cow’s milk in your coffee every morning makes a difference). You’re already spending money on food every day, that making better choices often doesn’t cost more, and doesn’t take any more time out of your day. It’ll take a few weeks to really see a difference, but it’s an almost free way to improve your skin’s tone and texture. Your health is the end goal here, but hey, looking good is a nice little boost.

Image via Unsplash

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